Monday, January 9, 2023

Long haul Covid recovery and still more bizarre and terrifying aftereffects


Hi Friends. As part of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds, I like to explore other aspects of health besides just weight loss. 17 months ago, my husband and I got Covid, prior to getting the vaccine. It was by far the most devastating illness I've ever had and I've had some challenging ones. Since officially recuperating from Covid (we're both considered long haul Covid survivors) we've both noticed some bizarre and frankly terrifying aftereffects. 

Earlier I mentioned the hair loss called Covid effluvium. That's weird but not so scary. But the exhaustion, social anxiety and inability to concentrate are more frightening. I've always been a fairly social person. But now I dread going out in public. I can do it for work but just the thought of group activities, even with family, whom I love being with, fills me with anxiety.

I think, in short, it's become a fear of people.  Irrational, yes. But none the less real. Or maybe a fear that I can't communicate. I feel like I'm losing a little more each day. If I'm honest, I have to force myself to interact and would avoid it if I could. And that horrifies me. It has nothing to do with loving others. I'd give my life for them. Just don't ask me to feel comfortable being around them. I'm sitting here crying as I write this because I don't want anyone thinking I don't love, care for, or enjoy them anymore. Because I do, so much more than they'll ever know. I don't tell anyone that I feel this way because I don't want to cause hurt. I can't help it. I don't want it. I didn't ask for it. It's so hard to explain and that makes it even more lonely and scary. 

Add to that I now struggle with remembering, orienting, planning, organizing, paying attention, making decisions and essentially just thinking clearly. I've always had a little ADHD but this is more like a fog or shroud that I'm drowning in. PTSD type dreams I've always struggled with are crazy bad since Covid. Breathing issues have gotten worse. Chronic pain has increased. I pray about it all the time but I can't get through. Just getting by takes strength I often don't have. 

 I know some people deny the reality of Covid or that the symptoms could be that bad. I hesitate to tell anyone because I don't want to face ridicule. It's real. I know it's real. I' think, feel and act differently since having Covid. I am fundamentally different. But if, on top of all the physical, emotional and mental struggles, I should have to deal with shame, I couldn't cope. 

 On a medical level, these symptoms make sense. I suffered a prolonged brain fever, hallucinations,  with extreme dehydration and all that goes along with that. I think we came closer to "life and death" than we realized. But making sense and living with it are two very different things. I'm afraid that I will never overcome it and that this is the new normal that I have no idea  how to live with.

I want my old self back. 

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